Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Gardens and Spas - Flora Gardens, Camberwell


These gardens, entered from the Wyndham Road, Camberwell, had a brief but lively existence from 1849 till about 1857. A central walk, adorned with fountains and lawns on either hand, led to a ball-room on the right, and on the left to a maze described as 'the nearest to that of Hampton Court'. The maze was intricate and verdant, and provided with a competent guide, while in the middle - in which respet it surpassed 'that of Hampton Court' - it had a magic hermitage inhabited by a learned Chaldean astrologer.
    Concerts and dancing took place every evening in the summer, the admission being sixpence. On special occasions there were costumed balls with a large band. . . . There were also Arabian Nights' entertainments and a mock election for Camberwell, in which the candidates addressed the free and independent voters from the hustings.
    On Sundays the Flora Gardens granted free admissions, and a representative of Paul Pry who visited the place in 1857 describes the local frequenters. Polly P*rs*ns was, he tells us, quite up to the door in her summer turn-out, while that pretty gazelle-like girl from the 'Manor,' Lizie B., accompanied by her particularly especial friend Polly P*rk*r, amused themselves by firing at targets for nuts.

Warwick Wroth, Cremorne and the later London Gardens, 1907